By Susan Stewart
A frayed rope of ivy wound round and round the lip
of a cup, a wooden cup carved from boxwood
that grew for a thousand years.
My cousin has a little goat, black
and white, with a delicate
hoof that looks like
onyx from a distance,
and like coal when
you come close
enough to touch it.
I had lunch today with a good friend from high school whom I basically have not seen since, which was delightful...plus it was at La Madeleine in downtown Bethesda, which means I got to park and walk around a bit in a neighborhood where some of the stores have been there for over 50 years while others have turned over since I was there a few months ago. Then I came home to write a review of "Devil's Due", which is a pretty terrible episode of Next Gen, probably the worst of the fourth season...and I still like it loads better than any SGA or BSG I've watched in the past several months. I can't believe how completely I took Next Gen for granted when it was new.
The view from the caboose toward the 1885 freight house at Ellicott City's B&O Railroad Museum.
The 1927 I-5 Caboose on permanent exhibit on the old tracks.
A table and lantern inside the caboose, which also has elevated seats and beds, plus the original stove.
One of the model trains exhibited for the season inside the station...
...has lots of entertaining features like hobos living under the tracks, a movie on a drive-in screen, and a car sliding down a hill.
Another room hosts Thomas the Tank Engine trains, which had lots of younger children following them around.
One of the artifacts in the onetime telegraph and ticketing room.
Here is some of the original telegraph equipment and information on how to use "the first internet" as the signs called it.
The Friday Five: Beauty
1. How would you define beauty? Whatever any given individual finds attractive. I don't believe in objective standards of beauty but I also think it's disingenuous to pretend that notions about physical beauty don't exist and we're not all swayed by them -- that I only look at "the person inside" or whatever.
2. What is the best quality a person can have? The ability to see the good in everyone.
3. What is the worst quality a person can have? Cynicism that blinds them to the good in everyone.
4. What makes up your perfect match? You really think this can be listed in one sentence in a meme?
5. Have you met this person yet? Yes.
Fannish 5: Name 5 cliches - from canon or fandom - that you'd like to see disappear.
Oh dear, BSG, I seem to be looking at you.
1. Hopelessly bleak and cynical is more "powerful," "edgy" or "grown up" in sci-fi than optimistic and forward-seeing.
2. Women who shoot, swear, screw and scream a lot should be admired for acting like one of the guys.
3. On the other hand, women must remain celibate or they become impotent as leaders. (Laura, meet Kathryn. Kathryn, Laura.)
4. Angry men will use rape and homophobia as weapons of war because it's a mother-frakking instinct in all men rather than a reflection of the misogyny of the writers.
5. If you just keep the cliffhangers coming, then no matter how absurd, nor how many loose ends you leave, the audience will keep tuning in.
So speaking of BSG...the show is such crap and I dislike it so intensely at this point, more than back when I fell asleep during the miniseries and a bunch of people told me I was just a misogynist who couldn't deal with a female Starbuck, when I just thought it was pretentious rather than repulsive. I was thinking about Sanctuary earlier, and why I like it so much apart from Amanda Tapping -- I like Mary McDonnell too so the problem isn't that there's no strong female pulling me in. It's that Sanctuary at the core sees sentient beings the way Star Trek does: whatever you look like, however weird your background and development, there's a presumption of innate goodness and value. On BSG, the presumption is that everyone -- human and cylon alike -- is wired for self-preservation and self-interest, and will always resort to violence to promote their own ends, even pathetic cowards.
Spoilers: I'm not going to bother to try to analyze episodes or arcs because there's so much inconsistency and stupidity that I'd have to take notes just to keep up, but some moments stand out -- Laura making me shriek with laughter when SHE calls BILL passive-aggressive even as she's saying she won't do her job, and saying things like, "Frakking Zarek, he always had dangerous ideas" -- that's all Laura has to contribute there?! Okay, I did love her telling Baltar that maybe they're both frauds, though Baltar these days is like a parody of himself, a shell who needs lots of mommy-lovers around to bolster his ego. He cracked me up, too, with the line about how he and Laura both made the worst choices ever in their presidential aides de camp. The entertainment value of watching the train wreck is increasingly overriden by shame that I have watched this with my kids, that I not only let them but encouraged them. They don't need to be fed this kind of garbage; I really think I'd prefer teen sex comedies.